County borrows to repair road in Lewis

ELIZABETHTOWN - The Essex County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of borrowing $650,000 at their regular meeting Sept 8.

The money will be used towards repairs to County Route 12 between Lewis and Willsboro, also known as Stowersville Road.

A section of the road has been slowly disappearing as the Boquet River has been washing away a bank more than 50 feet below. County Manager Dan Palmer presented photos of the road that showed it being claimed by the receding slope.

"I think poses a liability that would probably cost this county a lot more than what it is going to cost us to repair it if we don't do anything," said Moriah supervisor Tom Scozzafava.

Westport supervisor Dan Connell agreed, noting a similar problem his town encountered with the deteriorating bank along Merriam Forge Road.

"It was a life and death situation," he said. "If we don't do this correctly, we are going to be going back spending more money because it is going to continue to sluff away if we don't get it away from that bank, so I am going to support this resolution."

County DPW supervisor Fred Buck said sheet piling would need to be installed along the banks of the river to prevent further erosion and the level of the road would need to be lowered to make the slope more manageable.

"The river takes a little dog leg bend in right in that area and there is no way of turning that around, so we are going to take all the weight off the slope, drop the road about eight feet, and put a retaining wall up on the left-hand side," said Buck. "We have already purchased the right-of-way for the property's and that should take care of the problem."

Work began on the road nearly two years ago as traffic was redirected away from the deteriorating bank. Problems with permitting and right-of-way issues delayed further work until now, Buck said.

"It took us almost two years and acquiring the property," he said. "There was some problems but we finally have everything now."

A local contractor, Reale Construction out of Ticonderoga, entered the lowest bid for the project. Buck said they could start work as early as Sept. 14 if the funds were allotted.

Two separate resolutions to issue the $650,000 bond and use the funds for repairs for the road were each passed unanimously.

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